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Markets

Positive earnings reports lift European shares

  • Sectors considered most exposed to an economic downturn such as travel & leisure, mining, oil & gas and industrial companies led the morning surge in Europe.
05 Aug 2020

European shares rose on Wednesday as positive earnings and the huge quantities of stimulus coursing through the financial system again overshadowed concerns about the surge in coronavirus cases in Europe and the United States.

Sectors considered most exposed to an economic downturn such as travel & leisure, mining, oil & gas and industrial companies led the morning surge in Europe.

The broader pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.8pc, while euro zone stocks gained 1.0pc.

Ahold Delhaize NV, a major operator of supermarket chains in the United States and Europe, hit a record high as it raised its 2020, sales outlook after coronavirus lockdowns drove more traffic through its stores and online delivery services.

German residential real estate company Vonovia rose 3.2pc as it announced an 8pc rise in first-half core profits and confirmed its guidance for the year, boosting the sector.

Bank of Ireland surged 10.5pc after it said it was beginning to see some signs of recovery, while analysts pointed to an income outlook for 2020, that was better than indicated.

"Earnings season is helping support risk appetite as has economic data," said Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald Asset Management.

"That seems enough at the moment to offset the uncertainty about the US case growth and pickup in European cases."

A survey of purchasing managers earlier this week showed European manufacturing activity returned to a modest expansionary territory in July, however the rebound in the bloc's service industry was not as sharp as expected.

"Manufacturing PMIs earlier this week is certainly helping the cyclical story, but there is temporary nature to the current outperformance," said Park.

The positive mood helped investors look past a worsening of diplomatic ties between the United States and China and rising COVID-19 cases in parts of Europe and the United States.

Among the decliners, BMW slid 2.5pc as lockdowns pushed the carmaker to a second-quarter operating loss as deliveries of luxury cars fell by 25pc during the period.

British life insurer Legal & General also fell 2.5pc as it blamed the coronavirus pandemic for a 2pc fall in first-half operating profit.

Companies listed on the STOXX 600 are expected to report a decline of 67.5pc in second-quarter earnings, down from a drop of 58.3pc forecast the week before, according to Refinitiv data.